The Pentagon

JERUSALEM – While President Bush was “blindly” and “mindlessly” supportive of Israel, President Obama may be less willing to give the Jewish state “blank checks,” says Rosa Brooks, the Obama administration’s new adviser to one of the most influential Pentagon officials.

Brooks will advise Michelle Fluornoy, the undersecretary of defense for policy, a position that wields enormous power over drafting U.S. military doctrine in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Until accepting her position earlier this month, Brooks, who did work on behalf of George Soros’ philanthropic foundation, also served as a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. A WND review of her opinion pieces in the newspaper finds trends that defenders of the Jewish state may view as anti-Israel, including distorting history to seemingly whitewash Palestinian terrorism.

In a 2006 column, Brooks asserted Israel’s actions in the Middle East were fueling anti-American resentment from the Arab world. The column largely focused on Israel’s war that year against the Hezbollah terrorist group. The conflict broke out when Hezbollah built rocket arsenals along the Israeli border and then launched a major border raid in which Hezbollah killed Israeli troops, kidnapped two more soldiers and fired mortars and rockets into Jewish civilian population zones.

“Israeli policies are a major source of discord in the Islamic world, and anger at Israel usually spills over into anger at the U.S., Israel’s biggest backer,” Brooks wrote.

“With resentment of Israeli policies fueling terrorism and instability both in the Middle East and around the globe, it’s past time for Americans to have a serious national debate about how to bring a just peace to the Middle East,” she recommends. “But if criticism of Israel is out of bounds, that debate can’t occur – and we’ll all pay the price.”

In another piece, Brooks grossly distorts the historical record by claiming former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was to blame for the failure of U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that culminated in a summit at Camp David in 2000.

The talks briefly continued into 2001 in Taba, Egypt, but broke down in late January after Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat refused an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. Instead, Arafat launched the “intifada” or terrorist war, aimed at liberating “Palestine” through violence.

Sharon, perceived as a defense hawk, was elected almost two weeks after the talks collapsed and on the heels of a major Palestinian terrorist campaign. President Bill Clinton largely blamed Arafat. The Palestinians claimed Israel’s gestures, under Prime Minister Ehud Barak, didn’t go far enough, but even the Palestinians did not finger Sharon’s election as the cause of the collapse, since the talks imploded prior to the election.

But according to Brooks, “Israel and the Palestinian Authority came achingly close to a final settlement, but talks broke down after Likud’s Ariel Sharon was elected prime minister on Feb. 6, 2001.”

Writing in a piece entitled, “Israel can’t bomb it’s way to peace,” Brooks continues, “Sharon refused to meet with Yasser Arafat, and newly inaugurated President George W. Bush had no interest in pushing Israel toward peace.”

In the same oped, Brooks slammed Israel’s 22-day military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip that ended this past January.

She claimed “Israel has justified its bombardment of Gaza on the grounds that Hamas broke a fragile, temporary cease-fire … but the timing of the Israeli military offensive has more to do with politics than anything else.”

Brooks wrote that the two sides were not on equal footing, claiming that as compared to Israel’s military might Hamas “is weak, and its weapons – terrorism, homemade rockets – are the weapons of the weak.”

Hamas’ rocket-fire has devastated Israeli towns the past few years, killing Israelis and disrupting life for over 100,000 Jewish citizens. Hamas started launching the rocket attacks into Israel after the Jewish state unilaterally evacuated its citizens from the Gaza Strip, leaving the strategic territory to Palestinian control.

Brooks went on to list the initial Gaza casualty count without differentiating between civilians and terrorists.

“The first day of the offensive, Israeli bombs killed at least 180 Palestinians. By Wednesday, the Palestinian death toll exceeded 390,” she wrote.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, two-thirds of the casualty numbers were Hamas members.

Brooks urged: “It’s time for the United States to wake up from its long slumber and reengage – forcefully – with the Middle East peace process. Only the U.S. – Israel’s primary supporter and main financial sponsor – can push it to make the hard choices.”

She pointed out that as long as Bush was in the White House, “Israel could count on a U.S. administration that wasn’t merely ‘supportive’ of Israel but blindly, mindlessly so. Obama may be less willing to offer Israel blank checks.”

Brooks is also a law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, where she serves as director of the law school’s Human Rights Center. She previously served as special counsel to the president at Soros’ Open Society Institute. She has consulted for Human Rights Watch and served as a board member of Amnesty International USA.

Yesterday, WND reported Brooks wrote that al-Qaida was an “obscure group” turned into a massive threat due to U.S. policies. She’s also referred to Bush as “our torturer in chief” and a “psychotic who need(s) treatment” while comparing Bush’s arguments for waging a war on terrorism to Adolf Hitler’s use of political propaganda.

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